Give Them Transparency and Meaning

Employees want to be informed and have their work be meaningful, as per Rodd Wagner in his book Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees As If They're Real People

If employees know what's going on, they need not be paranoid and therefore can give their best efforts to their employers. (Stan Slap touched on this from a culture perspective in his book Under the Hood.) And as per the studies Rodd quoted, employees that are informed are more likely to stay at their job and recommend that employer to others; those that are not informed are more likely to do the opposite.

This is even worst for millennials. As Rodd reminds us, this is the generation used to parents discussing everything in front of them and being informed and connected at all times. They do not tolerate executives that are secretive...and neither do many others any more. Leaders sharing used to be a choice that was applauded, but now it is a must or companies will be reviewed poorly on social media sites and Glassdoor.

Employees also want their work to have meaning. Apparently even if we take a job for money alone, we are hard-wired to seek meaning and will find something at the company to connect to—unless the CEO is obviously just in it for the money. Leaders that are promoted from within are more likely to inspire meaning than one who is brought in to make shareholders happy and who has to then prove he has a purpose beyond that.

I've written about the importance of being informed before, so I will write more about meaning here.

It's nice if you have a calling such as being a doctor or teacher, where your job has inherent meaning, but most of us do not. Yet we can still apply our strengths at companies whose mission or purpose we believe in. And if we can't change jobs, we can still try to find meaning in what we do.

Do you create something that will make someone's life easier? Do you answer peoples' cries of help, whether they are technical difficulties or a false charge? Or do you deliver that much needed cup of coffee so that they can get to work? Chip Conley succeeded—during the dot-com crash in an industry that was failing—by helping his employees find that meaning.

If we as employees are treated with respect and made to feel that we have a purpose, it is possible for us to find meaning in most jobs. It's when we are treated as widgets and not respected or communicated to when everything loses meaning.

Do you feel informed and that your work has meaning? What does your employer do that makes you feel this way?

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